Microsoft’s Charlie Owen is Disappointed in My Switch to the Mac
My friend Charlie Owen, who works on the Media Center team over at Microsoft, is out with a post saying he’s disappointed with my post yesterday where I suggest to Chris Pirillo that it’s time for him to ditch Windows and move on over to a Mac. I don’t think Chris is going to take my advice… but if he hears it enough over time at some point it might kick in (that’s how the conversion worked for me).
From Charlie: “I’ve remained silent about Thomas moving most of his computing to the Mac simply because I was so very disappointed to lose him as a resource to make Windows Media Center a better experience. I was pretty amazed to see him so quickly jump on the ‘Get a Mac’ bandwagon with Chris’ latest post given (1) a majority of his problems with Windows at the time he ‘switched’ seemed to stem from his chosen OEM and (2) as far as I know he doesn’t have a ton of experience with Windows Vista to objectively compare it to MacOS. In his defense, he might have a ton of experience with Windows Vista but hasn’t posted about it (yet).”
So I wanted to address a couple of Charlie’s points.
First off, nobody wanted Microsoft to be the best operating system in the world more than me. I still think Microsoft’s vision for the Media Center PC as an entertainment hub in the home (especially with the XBox 360 as an extender) is brilliant. I’ve invested thousands of hours into Microsoft Windows and really think it has potential.
What’s more, unrelated to their OS, Microsoft has done a lot of things right in the past few years with regards to the blogosphere. Some of this was started by Scoble when he was there, but a lot of it has just grown organically as the outgrowth of a company who believes in blogging. People like Charlie and Sean Alexander and now Michael Gartenberg (among many, many others), understand the forum of blogging and it’s an important way to communicate and share ideas in an open forum. By contrast I don’t know a single Apple blogger. I’m sure they are out there I just have never met one.
The fact that I’ve got blogging friends and believe in a vision though are simply not enough.
The immediate temptation is to begin rattling off yet another list of the many, many specific problems that I’ve had with my PCs over the years, peripherals not being recognized, sticking things into USB slots and getting no response, meta data not taking, I/O device errors, authentication not working, things freezing up, applications not quiting, not being able to delete a folder or file because it’s “in use” even when it’s not in use by me, etc. etc. etc.). I could probably list 300 specific problems that I’ve had in the past few years if I really wanted to. At one point I started a blog post where I was going to document all of the problems I was having on my PCs and then see if people could give me advice on how to fix them. Kind of an interesting community based tech support experiment. But there were just too many problems to keep up with and follow up on and it turned out to be a lot more work than I originally thought.
I really, really wanted Windows and the PC platform to be my primary computing experience. But it doesn’t always work like it should. And many who uses a PC know this. It’s common knowledge. People just learn to accept it as part of the price for using the computer, an indispensable tool at this point, and move on. From what I’ve experienced of the Mac so far though, what I’m saying is that these almost daily problems do not *have* to be a part of your computing experience.
Charlie in your post you state that, the “majority of his problems with Windows at the time he ‘switched’ seemed to stem from his chosen OEM.” This simply is not true. I’ve used many different PCs made by many different OEMs over the course of the past 16 years. Today in my home I have 5 PCs. I have a laptop that is made by Dell that was my primary computing device. I have a HP Media Center PC. I have a custom build AKMA PC that was used primarily as a digital media workhorse. I have another generic brand PC and another Dell desktop.
Additionally I’ve got two Windows PCs a work. Another generic AKMA box and a HP Box that goes with my Bloomberg machine.
Most of my computing was done on my Dell laptop and on my AKMA custom built box while much of my media was consumed on the HP.
As my primary PC my Dell laptop had been used less than a year. Interestingly enough I’ve had three laptops in the last three years. In 2004 I used a Sony laptop that I bought at Costco in October of 2004 it was crushed under a seat on a flight back from Italy (gotta love those Lufthansa mechanical seats but laptops beware). I then upgraded to a IBM ThinkPad T40. Certainly a high enough end Windows machine. In 2005 I spilled a giant glass of chardonnay into the ThinkPad and thought enough with spending $3,000 on a laptop and bought the Dell for less than $1,000.
So in the last three years I have experienced Windows computing on Sony, Dell, IBM, HP and generic built box platforms. And I have experienced (and still experience on the surviving machines today) problems on every single machine universally.
Your point about Vista is a fair one. My only real experiences with Vista so far have been with beta Vista software (and it’s not fair to judge beta software as I very well know being the CEO of a company with current beta software out). But when I read things like what Chris Pirillo wrote it just resonates with me. And even in the three comments on your post about this disappointment people are already complaining about Vista. Chris Pirillo is someone who is tech savvy and someone whose opinion I trust. When Chris says he’s “upgrading” to XP that says a lot. And my points about XP sucking are true for me. XP has sucked for me. And where it sucks most of all is in comparison to the Mac.
Maybe I’ve drunk the Mac Kool-aid at this point. But my years of hardcore daily computing experience tell me that there is something more to this. That there is something more to it than funny commercials and the soothing sound of Steve Job’s voice as he preaches to us about the iPhone. That fundamentally, I’ll say it again, “It just works.” And it just works over and over and over again. And that counts for far more than the clever ads or the sleek design, or the fact that all Macs are female (I haven’t picked a name for mine yet).
The thing is that there is just so much to do and so little time. In addition to my blog I’ve got four kids, a day job in the investment business, I’m CEO of an internet startup and on top of it all I’m trying to shoot 200-300 photos every day and build a library of 500,000 finished images before I die. The efficiencies that the Mac gives me are real and they are powerful. I hope Microsoft gets there.
ill try Vista at some point myself and I hope when I do that I don’t come to the same conclusions that Chris Pirillo did.